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And for iron, I will bring silver,
Thy sun shall no more go down,
TRIUMPH OF HOPE.
UNFADING Hope! when lise's last embers burn,
Oh! deep-enchanting prelude to repose, The dawn of bliss, the twilight of our woes!
Yet half I hear the panting spirit sigh,
Daughter of faith, awake, arise, illume
MEMORY AND HOPE.
HOPE is the leading-string of youth; memory the staff of age. Yet, for a long time they were at variance, and scarcely ever associated together. Memory was almost always grave, nay, sad and melancholy. She delighted in silence and repose, amid rocks and waterfalls; and whenever she raised her eyes from the ground, it was only to look back over her shoulder Hope was a smiling, dancing, rosy boy, with sparkling eyes, and it was impossible to look upon him without being inspired by his gay and sprightly buoyancy. Wherever he went, he diffused gladness and joy around him; the eyes of the young sparkled brighter than ever at his approach; old age, as it cast its dim glances at the blue vault of heaven, seemed inspired with new vigor; the flowers looked more gay, the grass more green, the birds sung more cheerily, and all nature seemed to sympathize in his gladness. Memory was of mortal birth, but Hope partook of inmortality.
One day they chanced to meet, and Memory reproached Hope with being a deceiver. She charged him with deluding mankind with visionary, impracticable schemes, and exciting expectations that led only to disappointment and regret; with being the ignis futuus of youth, and the scourge of old age. But Hope cast back upon her the charge of deceit, and maintained that the pictures of the past were as much exaggerated by Memory, as were the anticipations of Hope. He declared that she looked at objects at a great distance in the past, he in the future, and that this distance magnified every thing. "Let us make the circuit of the world,” said he," and try the experiment.” Memory reluctantly consented, and they went their way together.
The first person they met was a schoolboy, lounging lazily along, and stopping every moment to gaze around, as if unwil. ling to proceed on his way. By and by, he sat down, and burst into tears. “Whither so fast, my good lad ?” asked Hope, jeeringly. “I am going to school,” replied the lad, “ to study, when I would rather, a thousand times, be at play; and sit on a bench with a book in my hand, while I long to be sporting in the fields. But never mind, I shall be a man soon, and then I shall be as free as the air.” Saying this, he skipped away merrily in the hope of soon being a man.
• It is thus you play upon the inexperience of youth,” said Memory, reproachfully.
Passing onward, they met a beautiful girl, pacing slowly and with a melancholy air, behind a party of gay young men and maidens, who walked arm in arm with each other, and were flirting and exchanging all those little harmless courtesies, which nature prompts on such occasions. They were all gayly dressed in silks and ribbons; but the little girl had on a simple frock, a homely apron, and clumsy, thick-soled shoes. “Why do you not join yonder group,” asked Hope, “and partake in their gayely, my pretty little girl ?” “Alas!" replied she, “ they take no notice of me. They call me a child. But I shall soon be á woman, and then I shall be so happy !” Inspired by this hope, she quickened her pace, and soon was seen dancing along merrily with the rest.
In this manner they wended their way, from nation to nation, and clime to clime, until they had made the circuit of the universe. Wherever they came, they found the human race, who at this time were all young, (it being not many years since the first creation of mankind,) repining at the present, and looking forward to a riper age for happiness. All anticipated some future good, and Memory had scarce any thing to do but cast looks of reproach at her young companion. “Let us return hoine,” said she, “to that delightful spot where I first drew my breath. I long to repose among its beautiful bowers; to listen to the brooks that murmured a thousand times more musically; to the birds that sung a thousand times more sweetly; and to the echoes that were softer, than any I have since heard. Ah! there is nothing on earth so enchanting as the scenes of my early youth!” Hope indulged himself in a sly, significant smile, and they proceeded on their return home.
As they journeyed but slowly, many years elapsed ere they approached the spot from which they had departed. It so happened one day, that they met an old man, bending under the weight of years, and walking with trembling steps, leaning on his staff. Memory at once recognized him as the youth they had seen going to school, on their first onset in the tour of the world. As they came nearer, the old man reclined on his staff, and looking at Hope, who, being immortal, was still a blithe, young boy, sighed, as if his heart was breaking. “What aileth thee, old man?" asked the youth. “What aileth me?” he replied, in a feeble, faltering voice. “What should ail me, but old age? I have outlived my health and strength; I have survived all that was near and dear; I have seen all that I loved, or that loved me, struck down to the earth like dead leaves in autumn, and now I stand like an old tree, withering, alone in the world, without roots, without branches, and without verdure. I have
only just enough of sensation to know that I am miserable, and the recollection of the happiness of my youthful days, when, careless and full of blissful anticipations, I was a laughing, merry boy, only adds to the miseries I now endure."
“Behold!” said Memory, “the consequence of thy decep. tions,” and she looked reproachfully at her companion. “Behold !” replied Hope, “the deception practiced by thyself. Thou persuadest him that he was happy in his youth. Dost thou remember the boy we met when we first set out together, who was weeping on his way to school, and sighed to be a man?” Memory cast down her eyes, and was silent.
A little way onward they came to a miserable cottage, at the door of which was an aged woman, meanly clad, and shaking with palsy. She sat all alone, her head resting on her bosom, and, as the pair approached, vainly tried to raise it up to look at them. “Good-morrow, old lady, and all happiness to you, cried Hope, gayly, and the old woman thought it was a long time since she had heard such a cheering salutation. “Happiness !" said she, in a voice that quivered with weakness and infirmity. “Happiness! I have not known it since I was a. little girl, without care or sorrow. 0, I remember those delightful days, when I thought of nothing but the present moment, nor cared for the future or the past. When I laughed, and played, and sung, from morning till night, and envied no one, and wished to be no other than I was. But those happy times are passed, never to return. O, could I but once more return to the days of my childhood !” The old woman sunk back on her seat, and the tears flowed from her hollow eyes. Memory again reproached her companion, but he only asked her if she recollected the little girl they had met a long time ago,
who was so miserable because she was so young? Memory knew it well enough, and said not another word.
They now approached their home, and Memory was on tiptoe, with the thought of once more enjoying the, unequaled beauties of those scenes from which she had been so long separated. But, some how or other, it seemed that they were sadly changed. Neither the grass was so green, the flowers so sweet and lovely, nor did the brooks murmur, the echoes answer, nor the birds sing half so enchantingly, as she remembered them in time past. “ Alas !” she exclaimed, “how